Don’t Let Anyone Disqualify You—Colossians 2:18-19
“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person also goes into great detail about what he has seen; and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (Colossians 2:18-19)
Several years ago I hosted an early morning Bible study at my office. I invited all of my co-workers and throughout the lifecycle of this group, as people were hired, the groups dynamics changed. I remember one morning in particular the newest member kept introducing Buddhist principles to the discussion. Of course I was confused because I had assumed she was a Christian; rather she was spiritual and interested in taking ideas, beliefs and practices from different sources for her custom-make belief system. Needless to say, the group that had been meeting for years didn’t survive.
Spirituality is very popular; what is not popular is Jesus. What I mean is that teachings of Jesus are en vogue. Or saying He’s a good teacher, a predominant historical figure, a good man are all acceptable. But drawing a line in the sand and declaring that He is Lord, the only way to be saved, and the only way to God is very, very unpopular.
What is true today about the climate of our world, was true in the days of the Colossian church. In the same way that the Jewish influence was dictating traditions and legalistic practices among the Colossians (vs. 16-17); Gnostic influences were persuading the people into demoting Jesus’ place to one among angels (vs. 18-19).
This is Paul’s Response...
First, to the legalistic Jews, he said, “Do not let anyone judge you…” (vs. 16). Why? Because these things are “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (vs. 17). And, “These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings” (vs. 22).
Secondly, in response to the Gnostic influences he advised, “Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize...” (vs. 18a AMP). Why? because the Father has “qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:12b).
This is Paul’s charge against this destructive teaching of demoting Jesus; “his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head…” (vs. 18b-19a). Then as beautifully as it can be explained, Paul goes on to say, “from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (vs. 19b). The error in this teaching is that Christ is not at the center. But the truth is that Christ is the source of life, He is what holds the universe together and He is what causes growth and maturity in our lives. We are warned not to let anyone rob us of truth by insisting adherence to rituals, traditions, or spiritual ideas and practices. Especially when they do not place Jesus at the center or align with His place of superiority.
I love how The Message explains it; “Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us” (Colossians 2:18-19 The Message).
How to Combat Destructive Teaching
First, start and finish the same way you began in Christ. “Just as your received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him” (vs. 7). How did you receive Christ Jesus? The only acceptable answer is by faith. So in the same way, place your faith in Him. Let what you know about Christ, His love for you and His grace toward you act as umpire making the call in how you live. Weight ideas, notions and practices against who Jesus is as Lord; let this truth combat ideas counter to Him.
Secondly, get an eternal perspective.“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Put aside the things of this world and let abundant life flow from the source of life. Strive to come into an understanding who God is, understand His will for you, renew your mind to these truths and get life from the source.
At the time of the Bible study, I let outside pressure and influences have a seat at the table because I was young and accommodating. What happened is my other Christians friends got tired of listening to these ideas and the group quickly died. Instead of bringing attention back and centered on Christ; I let another subtlety disqualify me from leading.
Today I want to encourage you to let the truth of Christ’s Lordship act as umpire and make the call in life! May you come into a revelation of who He is and may this truth be at the center of your worship.
Can you think of a time when another has bullied you into backing down in your faith? How did you respond?